For everyday use or as a luxury when camping we recommend the StrongBack chair as an excellent choice in comfort, stability and design.
Sit for any extended period of time in a standard camp chair and your lower back and spine will be screaming for a break. The StrongBack is one of those companies that has created a “duh, I could have thought of that” product. With a stroke of genius and a little bit of design expertise StrongBack redesigned the camp chair into an everyday chair with proper support you should expect.
StrongBack was so confident in their product they sent us an Elite StrongBack chair to test and we put it through its paces with trips to Yosemite, King’s Canyon and the Eastern Sierras.
Packaging and Case – A+
The StrongBack like any standard camp folding chair comes with its own carrying case. The case has smart design elements for functional use including large carrying straps for easy slinging over the shoulder (or wear it as a backpack), a mesh central area to shed dirt and moisture, and large easy to lock draw strings and clamps. In addition the carrying case has a little bit of extra room making it easy to pack or remove the chair.
In comparison to a standard camp chair (ie Walmart brand) the Strongback is not much larger. Due to the lumbar support design there is more material that folds up in the center of the case but overall it seems to pack a little tighter even with a larger footprint.
Opening and Closing – B+
Of all the aspects of the StrongBack the opening and closing of the chair present the biggest learning curve. The chair when opened provides a more solid support structure and it must be because of this that the chair takes a bit more effort to open and close. On a standard camp chair we are able to grab the top of the seat back and throw them open or closed. The StrongBack requires a bit more finesse to get started, opening or closing, and then the chair easily finishes the remainder of the task.
Support and Size – A+
Everything about the StrongBack is better in form and function compared to a standard camp chair. Stability, support, material and overall feel are vastly improved with this design. We immediately recognized the stability once the chair was opened. You can grab it by any anchor point (headrest, arm) and move the chair easily with no flex in the overall design.
The design of the chair also easily supports larger frames. With plenty of room side to side and depth on the chair for larger individuals. Even the largest of testers (200lb, 6′) commented at how sturdy the chair feels.
Where the chair excels is in it’s patented lumbar support. The chair has an innovative bend right at the lower back allowing for firm and comfortable support for your back. Our larger tester has serious back problems having undergone extensive back surgeries in the past. He was blown away by the support of this chair going as far as not wanting to return it to us after his test! In our case we don’t have the lower back pain but still enjoyed the more natural and supportive sitting posture combined with the solid feel of the entire structure.
The only point of criticism that came up was in our first test. Being so used to the cheapie chairs where you can easily slouch/ slide down to rest your head the StrongBack seems to be lacking head support. Due to the design you sit in a natural position without the slouch. We would suggest the company consider an add-on head support or a model with a higher back for head support.
The chair does not feel overly heavy and the design, like the bag, has smart touches to the fabric including a larger drink holder, mesh back and seat inserts for air flow (mesh inserts are specific to certain models). Our test model came in a stylish green color which looked great in camp and alongside our fifth wheel.
Overall – A
The StrongBack chair is a product that adapts a tried and true design to make it perfect. For everyday use or as a luxury when camping we recommend the StrongBack chair as an excellent choice in comfort, stability and design. The StrongBack chair is available on the company’s website at www.strongbackchair.com and they have extended our readers a 15% discount good through the end of 2016 (use coupon code “CampgroundViews15”).
In addition the chairs can be found at major retailers and online stores.
As an extra bonus StrongBack is sponsoring our monthly Camp Contest. We have extended the contest through November allowing you to get in on the action and have a chance to win an Elite StrongBack chair just like the one we tested ($99 value).